20 I assure you that, before God, I am not lying about what I am writing to you! 21 Afterward I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 But I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us is now proclaiming the good news of the faith he once tried to destroy.”
1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest 2 and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
Notes and References
"... The extradition contemplated in Acts 9:2 would require letters to the secular power in Damascus, which at that time was an ethnarch representing the Nabataean monarch, Aretas (2 Corinthians 11:32). In view of the antipathy between Aretas and Herod Antipas (Ant. xviii. 5.1) it seems improbable that an extradition treaty would be in force. It seems even more unlikely that such a treaty would allow for the extradition of refugees from religious persecution. The story of Paul's commission is likewise rendered suspect by its association with the narrative of his activity as a persecutor in Judea, a narrative which is flatly contradicted by Galatians 1:22 ..."
Hare, Douglas R. A. The Theme of Jewish Persecution of Christians in the Gospel According to St. Matthew (p. 65) Cambridge University Press, 1967
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